Tuesday 11 June 2019

Movie Review - Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The next stage of the MonsterVerse arrives not just as a sequel to 2014's Godzilla but also as its own ensemble, seeing numerous beasts from Toho's own legacy and beyond duking it out for supremacy across the entire Earth itself. Such a premise has plenty of potential to bring genuine thrills and excitement to the big screen, but while King of the Monsters succeeds on an aesthetic level, its story and pacing ultimately might not leave both newcomers or even diehard fans truly compelled.

Following Godzilla's battle against the MUTO creatures during 2014, man kickstarts an organization known as Monarch to study similarly large and powerful creatures that dominated the Earth in ancient history; referring to them to as "Titans". Years onward, many powerful beings are discovered and soon awakened; most notably the lethal King Ghidorah, a foe humanity soon stands feeble against, and one who brings the eponymous monster out of hiding once more for a battle deciding their own dominance as well as the very fate of the world around them.

It of course goes without saying that King of the Monsters is a visual treat from start to finish, both stylishly filmed and boasting some refined modern special effects. It's just a shame you won't find a truly rewarding amount of monster action throughout this two hour adventure, with the pacing and overall balance of the story shunting even Godzilla itself to one side for strangely long periods of time without much mention of it whatsoever; so much so that I myself occasionally forgot all about it, as well as several other monsters that were supposedly important to the story. While the villainous King Ghidorah definitely deserves praise as an intimidating villain, other Toho classics Mothra and Rodan end up with roles disappointingly short.

This mediocre story does admittedly build up to an admittedly superb climax filled with all the visual thrills one would expect, but the majority of the film simply lacks this level of quality. When it comes to the human characters and the drama around them, despite solid performances from a decent cast, there's also some inconsistent development and strange motivations, ultimately rendering a fair amount of them uninteresting and even somewhat annoying. Throughout the majority of the film I found myself largely bored and frustrated by the brief flashes of monster action that came and went without much flare, and only truly compelled once again when it came to the gripping final battle. Films like this of course need to have more depth than monsters fighting endlessly, but the attempts at such depth here just aren't consistently engaging; many felt the same with the 2014 film, but I still enjoyed that one a whole lot more.